Spanish and English Text Comprehension in a Dual-language Kindergarten
Maren Aukerman

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Stanford University

Primary Discipline

Literacy and/or English/Language Education
Despite indications that text comprehension poses an enormous challenge to many English-language learners, virtually no research has compared young children’s processes of text comprehension in the first and second language to see whether and how these might differ. This year-long study examines similarities and differences in children’s approaches to first- and second-language comprehension of picture-book readalouds in a dual-language (Spanish/English) kindergarten. Specifically, I ask: How do children rely on textual resources (e.g., illustrations) and classroom dialogue (e.g., peer talk) to comprehend first- and second-language picture-book readalouds? What do children’s understandings of first- and second-language readalouds look like at the start of school, and how might these become more standard across time? Using grounded theory and discourse analysis, I will analyze video data of 30 interactive readaloud conversations in each language, as well as follow-up retellings and “pretend readings” of these same texts by focal students representing various initial levels of proficiency in the two languages. By shedding light on what children do differently to comprehend first- and second-language text during everyday classroom interactions, this study will contribute to our theoretical grasp of second-language text comprehension and will inform how teachers organize reading instruction to better teach English-language learners.
About Maren Aukerman

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